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Why go into student loan debt for decades when you can make money now?

2 minute read

It’s well-established Americans with a college degree earn more over their lifetimes than those without. Study after study proves it. But with student loan debt topping $1.45 trillion – more than the entire country owes on its credit cards – college isn’t the slam-dunk moneymaker it once was.

Fortunately, you don’t need it. If you’re looking for a lucrative career without college expenses, CareerBuilder recently broke down the 10 most in-demand jobs. That means job where openings outpaced the people actually hired — and none required a college degree.

“When people think of skills gaps, they typically think of high-skill tech or health care jobs that require advanced degrees,” says CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson. “The reality is those gaps are being felt across all types of roles, including a wide range of jobs that don’t necessarily require a college education.”

The list

Ranked from highest number of jobs hired from monthly postings on average.

1.) Medical assistants

  • 28,641 jobs posted, monthly, on average
  • 26,239 hired, monthly, on average
  • Median pay of $15.18 per hour

2.) Tax preparers

  • 6,695 jobs posted
  • 6,108 hired
  • Pays $19.60 per hour

3.) Pharmacy technicians

  • 26,808 jobs posted
  • 20,726 hired
  • Pays $14.87 per hour

4.) Computer support specialists

  • 58,569 jobs posted
  • 34,283 hired
  • Pays $23.81 per hour

5.) Social and human service assistants

  • 38,869 jobs posted
  • 19,967 hired
  • Pays $15.33 per hour

6.) Real estate sales agents

  • 18,169 jobs posted
  • 9,238 hired
  • Pays $17.92 per hour

7.) Food service managers

  • 60,718 jobs posted
  • 20,007 hired
  • Pays $19.82 per hour

8.) Insurance sales agents

  • 57,103 jobs posted
  • 17,183 hired
  • Pays $23.17 per hour

9.) Retail store management

  • 276,477 jobs posted
  • 85,445 hired
  • Pays $17.10 per hour

10.) Big rig truck drivers

  • 1,662,847 jobs posted
  • 107,845 hired
  • Pays $19.26 per hour

Is college worth it then?

College is still going to lead to more stability and higher pay over the course of time. Unemployment is lower among young workers holding a college degree than among those who don’t, says a study from the Economic Policy Institute.

College isn’t for everyone. Actually college isn’t for most, according to the EPI. Workers without college degrees make up the majority (63 percent) of workers aged 25-54.

Job search website CareerCast also put together a list of their top 10 jobs to work without a four year college degree — with the least paying job at $38,000 a year. Almost half of the jobs on their list were in healthcare: Diagnostic medical sonographer, medical records technician, optician, and respiratory therapist.

“The Economic Policy Institute estimates that workers with a four-year college degree make about 56 percent more than those who don’t, based on 2015 salary figures,” says Kyle Kensing, online content editor at CareerCast. “However, we have identified some great jobs that pay a high wage which don’t require four years of college.”

Other jobs on the list include electrician, plumber, executive assistant, broadcast technician, paralegal, and web developer.

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About the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Joe Pye is a certified debt management professional. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Florida Atlantic University’s student-run newspaper, the University Press. He was a finalist for the Mark of Excellence award by the Society of Professional Journalists Region 3 for feature writing and in-depth reporting. He now covers personal finance topics for uncovering trends that help readers deal with the financial world. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

Published by, LLC Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: The Top 10 Jobs in 2018 That Don’t Require a College Degree - AMP.